March 26, 2014

Cooking Lesson for a Duo

This great duo worked well together steaming tofu kimchi dumplings,
chicken satays with peanut sauce, Pad Thai Noodles and a Thai tea.

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

March 24, 2014

Pad Thai Pizza

Do you know what the difference between Asian Fusion food
and Pan Asian food is?  Many people  mistake the 2 or simply
assume it's the same thing.

Asian Fusion, or 'fusion' for that matter is bonding or fusing
something together and in this case it's either an Asian method of cooking
or an ingredient that is associated with Asian foods.
An example would be a Chicken Teriyaki burrito.
Teriyaki sauce is Japanese and a burrito is an Mexican-American food.
This dish would be Asian Fusion or Mexican Fusion.

I was craving Pad Thai and pizza but after debating in my head
of which one I wanted more... I decided to make both but together.
Literally.  Pad Thai pizza!   (for recipe ----->  Pad Thai recipe)

I was able to enjoy the crust part of the pizza that I wanted
along with the peanut, cilantro-spicy- curry kick of the Pad Thai all in one bite!
Totally an Asian Fusion Pizza!

Oh, and by the way- Pan Asian is when a restaurant has food (often favorites)
from many different countries. The best example of a Pan Asian chain
restaurant is P.F. Changs & their diner Pei Wei. Their menu consists of
dishes from China, Thailand, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam and more all in 1 menu.

Making home-made pizza dough is very easy.
1. take 1 cup of flour and add 1 pack of yeast.
2. microwave half a cup of water in your coffee mug so it's hot but not boiling.
3. add water slowly and take a spoon and mix together.
4. wet a paper towel and throw over the dough for at least 20 minutes
     so the yeast and flour can get to know each other and get settled in
5. roll your dough with a rolling pin and  bake the dough first on a cookie rack
    for about 20 minutes (best if you want a crispy flat crust)

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

March 21, 2014

Long distance couples cook together.

A while back, we had a cooking class with a duo
who were friends at the start of the class...
I saw a little flirting and  "eyes" and looks taking place. haha.
Both people were super cool to meet and so much fun to cook with!

They learned how to make Buffalo chicken dumplings
with ranch as a dipping sauce along with some hand-rolled
pizzas and strawberry shooters for dessert.

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

March 19, 2014

Couples In Home Cooking Class

I might be weird but I always feel better when the kitchen gets a
a cleaning.... like a good scrub cleaning with vinegar,
baking soda and lemons... Nah, I AM weird. It's ok though because
I admit it..?...
Anyways,  just like the way a good cleaning puts me in a happy place-
so do Cooking Classes, especially the 'In-Home' ones.

We recently did another couples cooking class cooking an Indian menu
that was meat and vegetarian friendly.
This couple was a blast to cook with and so much in... love!
They were smiling and looking at each other almost the whole time!

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

March 17, 2014

Carrots were never orange.

What color are carrots?  Did you just say orange?
Did you know that carrots weren't always orange? What!?!

The Dutch are known as the carrot farmers of the world and
some time around the 17th century- they  cultivated carrots
for political and fashion purposes. Yes, carrots for politics and fashion.
Go figure! Carrots were originally purple, red, white and yellow.
The Dutch farmers were asked to cultivate red and white carrots
to make an orange carrot in honor of  "William of Orange"
The people loved the new fashionable hue so much that
the farmers continued to cultivate the orange ones and the
purple, red, white and yellow carrots in a way became phased out.

Just like there are heirloom tomatoes, today the original
carrot colors are considered heirloom carrots.
There are five non-orange colored carrots.

The purple carrots are often a deep but bright purple on the outside
and the flesh on the inside is a yellow-ish orange color.
They are sweet in flavor.

The red ones are often a very bright red, they taste the same as
the orange carrots and are heavily filled with lycopene -
the known good for you antioxidant also found in tomatoes.

The white ones are either  bright white  or a creamy white.
They are pretty mild in flavor unlike their cousin the parsnip.

The yellow ones are sweet as well and have that pretty lemony color.

As I mentioned, these days the non-orange colored carrots are
considered heirloom carrots which kind of means old fashioned
in a way- to put it simply and they can be found in farmers markets
and often the organic section of the supermarket.
They are gorgeous in color.
Naturally sweet colored goodies direct from nature!

Bugs Bunny says - 

"What's up doc" Let's Cultivate Food

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Sometimes Sunday afternoons are meant for running weekend errands
that didn't get done on Saturday and some Sunday afternoons are
meant for doing laundry and cleaning and resting from Cooking Classes
and for me this weekend included sterilizing Bumpballs.
I also threw in a little baking this Sunday evening as well.

I made some Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.
I decided to make the extra large muffins rather than
the mini or regular sized ones.
They turned out delicious and adding a little extra lemon glaze
on top was a great addition. Eating them warm was also a bonus!

2/3 cups sugar
2 lemons grated
juice 1 lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
3/4 cup of plain yogurt
2 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick)of unsalted butter (melted at room temperature)
bake on 400 degrees for about 20 minutes (until the toothpick comes out clean)

1 cup of confectioner's sugar
3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
mix together and drizzle on when the muffins are done and out of the oven
(I recommend  using the back of a small spoon while they are still warm)

Licking the glaze off my fingers Let's Cultivate Food

March 14, 2014

Which onion should you use?

Onions.  Do onions make you cry?  We talk about onions often during
cooking classes so I've heard many different ways and things that people do
to prevent  themselves from crying.  Years ago I used to joke around saying
that if you are REALLY sensitive to onions -
you could always try swimming goggles. Low and behold- years later
there are goggles now made for cutting onions.  

Let's see,..... some of the things people have shared with me through the years
as far as what they do to prevent from tearing up while cutting onions.
----- chew gum while your are cutting,  bite down on some bread,
freeze the onion for a few minutes to harden it a little bit, 
light a candle so that the flame eats up the gases that are emitted from 
the onions' membranes as we cut into them, buy already cut frozen onions,
have your husband cut them and so many more... 
my most memorable comment and tip on how to prevent crying from onions
was:  " have a man do it because men are not as sensitive as women"
hahaha, the man who said this comment was actually being serious because when 
his wife cut onions - they always make her tear up and they never seem to bother him.
For me, I always rinse them in cold water and that seems to always help me.
If I'm cutting pounds and pounds of them for a catering gig, I have them sit in a 
bowl of cold water with their skin on as I cut one at a time. 

I'm assuming you already know that there are different types of onions  
but do you know which one is good for using when?
Here is a basic breakdown of what's what in the onion world.

The most common onion is the yellow onion
They are the best all-around onion, good for sauces, soups, stews, 
meat roasts and braised dishes.

Next, there is the sweet onion, this onion looks similar to the yellow onions
but often are lighter in color and the skin isn't as thick as the yellow onion.
They are best for frying, making onion rings, creating gratins and roasting veggies.

The white onion is the crunchiest of them all and has the sharpest zing.
They are good for putting them in salsas, chutneys and stir-fry dishes.

The red onion is best for eating raw especially in sandwiches, salads,
pickled dishes and using when making guacamole.

The last type of onion I'd like to share today are the shallots.
Shallots are the smallest and just like their size- they are milder and more subtle.
They are good when used for vinaigrettes, garnishes and egg casseroles. 

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

March 7, 2014

Mother and Daughter Cooking Classes

Mother and daughter classes are extra special because of the
special bond that they share!

Today, I wanted to share 3 of my favorite mother-daughter classes.

We have mother and daughter, step daughter - mother and 
daughter and mother-in-law classes.

"Mothers are the people who love us for no good reason. 

And those of us who are mothers know it's the 
most exquisite love of all."     Maggie Gallagher

"Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, 

but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss 
and scold together."         Pearl S. Buck 

"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. 

No man does. That's his."       Oscar Wilde

"Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, 

since the payment is pure love."    Mildred B. Vermont

"A mother's love is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking, 

it never fails or falters, even though the heart is breaking."     Helen Rice

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

March 6, 2014

Personal Chef Dinners

Personal Chef Dinners
served to you right in your home!
by a current restaurant consultant, flavor creating goddess & 
former co-owner of a restaurant

How does it work?
1. First, you fill out the basic form with which menu you are interested in eating.
    (number of people, what town you live in, which day etc..) 
    (form is @ bottom of page or top tab titled  "FORM/Menus")

2. Once a day and time is scheduled---
     My sous chef and I will come to your location with all the fresh ingredients.
     (but we'll use your pots, pans, cutting board, plates, silverware etc... 
     you know-  so we don't have to lug everything)

3. We’ll cook the exotic feast and then the best part, you EAT!
     I'll cook/prepare the appetizer and my sous chef will serve and entertain
     your group with some interesting food trivia!  (If you prefer no-trivia... that's ok too!)

4.  To make the fairy-tale complete, while you and your friends/family are discussing 
     who’s the fullest and who answered the most trivia questions correctly...
     we’ll be cleaning and getting the place back to sparkling clean!

So you are thinking, "What does it cost?"
Great question! 
The prices for a Personal Chef Dinner is $45.00 per person.

This includes us purchasing ALL of the fresh ingredients, (often at multiple shops)
the prep, the cooking / making / serving / cleaning and for us driving to & from you.
(if there are highway tolls, bridge tolls or special parking fees...
those are extra) 

Each person will be served a FOUR-course meal. 
Each menu is customized with a fruit infused drink, often 2 appetizers
or 1 appetizer and a side, a main entree and a dessert.

Can I invite others to join us and if so...
how many people can I invite?
You betcha! The sweet spot is 4-6 adults, though you can go as 
small or as large as you want.  The number of people however, 
should be limited to how many people can comfortably sit 
in your eating space / area.

What should we wear?
Whatever you have that brings out your happiness!  

Who does the cleaning?
We do! Though........... we promise 
not to complain if you want to help!

When and how do I pay?
There are 3 ways of payment.
~ Credit card  
~ Paypal
~ Cash 
(payment needs to be prior to the arrival of class)
(If you prefer to pay by cash--- it is due at arrival)

What if I don't like any of the menu choices?
Simply choose "other" on the form and enter the dishes, 
ethnic type or ingredient, etc. you are interested in learning and 
as long as it fits within my skill set I will be super excited to create 
a personal menu for you!  

I've mastered many things over the years of  teaching cooking classes,
cooking Personal Chef Dinners and throwing food parties... 
so I’m well prepared if you choose to take this route!

so.... are you ready to feel like a rock star and have 
personal chef dinner served to you!?!

to view menus and for booking -->  FORM  <---click